|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #29 - "Destiny Rules"
by Jon Andersen
Some say that existence is cyclical: what goes around comes around, all patterns repeat. Thus even the most chaotic systems become, to a degree, predictable. Freewill reduced to a statistical abstraction.
Bollox to that.
* * *
The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, cursing his strangely passive involvement to all this. He's done little but been swept along on the tide, taken where events have said he should go.
He looks over to the console.
Looks at the cards sitting propped against the helmic regulator.
* * *
The morgue is dark except for the desk lamp in the office; being America there's some sort of metaphysical law forbidding the use of anything brighter.
The man sitting in that office reading a trashy novel is in his 30s, ginger haired with thick eyebrows and a shrubby beard. He's the sort of person you can look at and safely say 'geek' without fear of contradiction. The quality just exudes from him, so much so that you just know people don't give him any sort of respect. Won't for another two months, and then it'll be like watching one of those flowers that only bloom once in a life time slowly unfurling.
He looks up, sees two people in suits and leather trenchcoats standing just outside the office, looking like they could have just stepped from a store display. That this is essentially true is something he doesn't need to know.
"May I help you?" he asks them, getting to his feet. The look on his face combines curiosity, concern and, ever so slightly, arousal.
"Special Agent Verthandi," the younger of them answers before gesturing over her shoulder. "This is my partner, Special Agent Urd."
"Interesting names," he offers.
"Interesting times. We're here for the body that was brought in from Precinct Five-Five earlier this evening."
"The one killed with the sword," Urd clarifies. "You probably need to see our identification." She holds out a wallet that proclaims CIA in big bold letters; Verthandi does likewise."
"What do you want with it?" he asks, taking one of the IDs and examining it cautiously. The attention to detail makes Urd smile.
"We need to make a confirmation as to whether or not its someone we have a particular interest in," Verthandi explains, stepping back to allow the attendant to exit his office. "If it is, someone will be along in the morning to arrange transfer to one of our facilities."
He returns the wallet. "Well, everything seems to be in order. It's just this way."
The follow him across the green and red chequered floor to the bank of individual freezers. He opens one and pulls out the tray, pulls back the sheet.
"It's not Skuld," Urd frowns at the corpse. "It should be her. It was meant to have been her."
"This is bad," Verthandi nods, yanking the sheet back further to examine the dead man. The entry wound is in his side, ragged where it had shorn through the ribs, shredded the pulmonary arteries and the aortas on the way in, venting all eight chambers on the way out.
"What's wrong?" the attendant asks. "Or shouldn't I ask?"
Urd turns to him, smiling. "Always ask, Davis, but don't always expect an answer. This body is not to be touched or examined by anyone. People will arrive shortly to take it away, and are likely to be less civil about it than us. Everything will be in order, but do not challenge them."
"I'm not sure I--"
Verthandi reseals the freezer. "They act as arrogant lords, but that arrogance is not entirely misplaced. Don't worry, you'll be fine."
The two of them leave, disappearing around the corner and into the elevator before they can be stopped or questioned further.
"This is worse than we thought," Urd sighs. "Skuld has succeeded in moving beyond the rules of Destiny. She challenges Fate for the attentions of the favoured child."
"Perhaps. It may be a deeper malaise than a desire for attention. She may have been contaminated in ways we were incapable of seeing."
"In case of illness, consult the Doctor?"
* * *
"Interesting, but hardly useful," the Doctor sighs, regarding the results of five futile minutes. "Why do you have to wander off when I need you Rose? You could be dead, and here I am playing with cards like-- Doctor, you idiot! Of course. What else could it be with the crazed woman running around like that."
He shuffles through the deck, pulling out five cards, replacing one with another. Satisfied, he fans those five cards across the console and steps back. "Doc Holliday, don't fail me now."
"Bugger. He always was a--"
The co-ordinates shift, bringing a broad grin to the Doctor's grim features.
"--wonderful, sagacious man and skilful practitioner of medicine," he continues without missing a beat, hitting the dematerialization switch. "Hold on Rose, I'm coming."
* * *
"We've missed him!" Verthandi exclaims, watching the last echoes of the TARDIS fade into the Weave.
"That means Skuld's missed him too," Urd points out.
"But she knows where he's going to be."
"Pity about that."
The two women turn and regard the schoolboy leaning truculently against the fence. Behind him, unwitting participants.
"Fate. You brat," Verthandi spits. "What did you do to set her off?"
"What makes you think I had anything to do with it?" he asks, looking sufficiently offended but not quite pulling off the voice acting. "I'm just around when these things happen. I don't cause them."
"No," Urd says icily. "You just subcontract."
"What can I say? It's the done thing. Cuts overheads. Speaking of which, she's done surprisingly well so far. Not that she can win. No one can. Against Destiny maybe. But not me."
"Come on," Verthandi grabs her arm. "The Doctor's arrived again."
"Tee Tee Ef En," Fate waves as they leave. "Bloody amateurs."
He checks his watch, pulls out a mobile phone, hits speed dial.
* * *
Playing games. Chit chatting. All of it has frustrated her again and again. So when the Doctor sticks his head out the door of his TARDIS exactly where she'd foreseen it, the entity letting others call her Lachesis steps around the side of it and brings her sword scything down. There's barely any resistance as it cuts cleanly through the Time Lord's neck, sending his
head bouncing across the Empire State's observation deck and into the wire mesh with a loud clang, vital fluids trailing in its wake.
The sucker punch his body delivers to her jaw is totally unexpected. She stumbles back, swinging wildly only to have her wrist twisted, the sword pulled from her fingers.
"I killed you," she protests as the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS, stepping around his headless doppelganger, her sword held easily in his hand. She tries to leave, only to find the tip of it pressing into her throat with disturbing speed.
"Don't," he says coldly. His face is that of a man who kills nine gods before breakfast, his voice the clarion knell of Ragnarok. Unfortunately for her. "It occurred to me that the TARDIS, existing as she does essentially outside conventional Time, would provide a useful screen against your rather remarkable abilities. All you 'killed' is one of the many robotic doubles of me that have been made over the years. If I find out you've killed Rose, he won't be the only one suddenly much shorter."
The sword's tip nicks her skin, just shy of drawing blood.
"I have not killed your woman. Much as with the assassin, there wasn't the need. She's over there."
"Well, that's good to hear," he beams, the sword suddenly replaced by a hand offered in openness and a smile. "Now, why don't we stop all this bickering and talk like a pair of rational cosmic beings, hmm?"
"I will not dally with Fate's pawn!"
"I'm no-one's pawn," he counters. "I gave that up lifetimes ago."
"I saw you talking to your master, remember?"
"We were only there because your deck of cards took us there," he shakes his head. "Look, if I wanted to kill you I could have done it by now."
"Then give me my sword."
"We wouldn't advise that, Doctor," an all too familiar voice counters her demand. "Skuld cannot be trusted."
"You fools, you have no idea what you're doing by being here!" she snarls.
"It's you who have no idea what you're doing," Urd answers, stepping forward. "We know Fate is--"
"So there are more of you," the Doctor interrupts, regarding her sisters, sword twitching to a half guard position. "Perhaps one of you might be so kind as to explain exactly what's going on? Because I'm altogether lost."
"And I've arrived just in time for the show," Fate purrs.
"Doctor!" Rose screams out, drawing everyone's attention to the edge of the observation deck where Skuld had knocked her out. The Time Lord instinctively runs towards her, then stops as the early morning sky turns red.
"Doctor, what's happening? Is that what I think it is?"
"That's a very good question," he answers. "Because if you think a dragon-shaped holocaust the size of Manhattan's just erupted out of Hell's Kitchen, then yes. That's exactly what it is."
"Nithhogr," Verthandi breathes in shock. "He isn't meant to rise until..."
"Exactly," Fate beams. "Oh, I'm going to look forward to this. This year is finally going to get really interesting."
That's when the sword in the Doctor's hand starts to glow.
So brightly that it attracts Nithhogr's dread attention.
To be continued...
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